“Spirits of Jupiter” AKA “Planet Gone Mad” (1984) Action Movie: Clips + Early Review

Reviews, Videos, Walt Jaschek on Camera
Click for a few scenes from “Planet Gone Mad” AKA “Spirits of Jupiter”

Walt Jaschek gets killed by crazed miners in Colorado! Walt J the actor, that is. In one of his only film roles (so far,) Walt appeared as the doomed nebbish Harold Pilgrain in the 1984 indy action movie “Planet Gone Mad,” also known by its original title, “Spirits of Jupiter.” Filmed in and around Canon City, Colorado, the movie was directed by Russell S. Kern, with cinematography by Steve Flanigan. Hollywood stuntman Rex Cutter played the film’s hero, Big Jim Drill. Character actor Walt had a few scenes with Rex, his airplane, and the crazy miners who are compelled to kill. Walt did own stunts, including jumping out of that moving airplane, as you will see. Here are the full IMDB credits.

And now, that review.

Clip of the original newspaper review of “Spirits of Jupiter,” AKA “Planet Gone Mad”

“Jupiter Filled With Violence”


From the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, Friday, March 2, 1984


By Linda D. Smith
GT Features Writer

CANON CITY – The residents of this city turned our Thursday night for the premiere of “Spirits of Jupiter,” a film starring many of their friends and neighbors.

Rocky Mountain Studios and Producers Group Ltd., a Colorado Springs production company, filmed the movie in Canon City and surrounding Fremont County last year, relying on the local residents for talent and local scenery for backdrops.

Written and directed by Russell S. Kern of Colorado Springs, “The Spirits of Jupiter” takes the predictions of 16th century philosopher Nostradamas and applies them to 1984. In particular, Kern has taken the idea if the planets Jupiter and Saturn were to align, the result would be a gravitational pull that would wreak havoc on the people of Earth.

The story line has given the film makers a great deal of latitude in creating a fill full of violence.

In one scene after another, viewers see a bloody headless corpse, a man’s eyeball ripped from the socket by a crazed dog, and friends turning against neighbors with guns, knives and meat cleavers.

The story follows mine owner Big Jim Drill, played by Rex Cutter, who is spared the ravages of the gravitational pull. His first interest is in keeping his mine open, until things get so out of hands, he becomes more concerned about the survival of his family. The movie is filled with some very colorful and talented characters, including a modern-day Nostradamas, played by Richard Luna, Drill’s airplane mechanic, portrayed by Cliff Willis, and the fidgety mine supervisor, played by Walter Jaschek.

The roles of Dril’s son and daughter and filled by two Colorado Springs residents. Handsome Chopper Burnet, a drama student at Colorado College, portrays Drill’s son Robert with a great deal of finesse. Carol Engel, a regular performer at the Iron Springs Chateau, plays Jennifer Drill.

And when it comes to villains, James Aerni’s portrayal of police chief Julius Switcher rivals any melodrama house in the area. In the movie, when Switcher first succumbs to the gravitational pull, he gets the most sinister gleam in his eye when he takes off his boot and begins playing a game of Russian roulette with his toes.

Steven R. Flanigan of Colorado Springs, who is the director photography, has made tremendous use of the Canon City area in filming “Spirits of Jupiter.” The action sequences are well done and use a variety of vehicles, from cars and motorcycles to airplanes and helicopters. But Flanigan is best in the aerial sequences, capturing the beautiful countryside on film. Thursday night’s audience at the Skyline Theatre in Canon City seemd to relish seeing themselves and their friends on the big screen.

Colorado Springs residents will get to see and critique the film at its only performance here, at 4:30 p.m. March 9 at the Cooper Theatre. Tickets are $4 in advance from Budget Tapes and Records, Independent Records, big Apple Tapes and Records, or at the door.

Detective Comics #1000: Quick Report and Review (And a Reveal of Which 3 Variant Editions I Bought)

Comics, Reviews, Videos
Walt Jaschek holding one of the Detective Comics #1000 editions he scooped up.

Here’s my short, suitably nerdy report and review of… Detective Comics #1000! (Spoiler alert: I lovedit.) Of course I would dash out and scoop up some variant cover editions. Doesn’t take a detective to figure that out! What editions did YOU get? Let me know in the comments!

And bonus: check out this affordably priced hardover edition of Detective Comics #1000 on Amazon. It’s a steal, I say. Batman should investigate.

Scott Pilgrim Versus the Walt: A Review

Comic Movies, Reviews

FOR THE first five minutes of Scott Pilgrim Versus the World, I  thought: “I am waaaay too old for this movie.“ (That’s “waaaay” with 4 “a”s.)

My suspicion increased when an older couple walked out of the theatre, seemingly baffled. “I feel you,” I thought.

The movie’s early minutes are aggressively Quirky with a capital Qu. Not the naturalistic, observational quirkiness of, say, Juno, but rather a highly self-conscious Quirky – a rapidly cut mash-up of anime, arcade games, sitcoms, and of course the beloved source material, Brian O’Malley’s deceptively simple, black-and-white comics.

You’d think that would be right up my alley! Me, too. After five more minutes, I started to “get it,” but it was a slog to work up attraction for the antics of these slacker 20somethings.  They seemed to be photocopies of characters, hitting beats in a script – a Quirky script! – without really touching hearts or nerves.

But, wait! There is hope for me. I did NOT follow my fellow old fogies out the door, and not just because, like the senior citizen I almost am, I didn’t want to waste $10.

Soon the unique lure of the Pilgrim-verse sucked me in, and by the end of the movie I was charmed, and sure I had seem something new in execution but classic in spirit. This is romantic comedy, after all, with its tropes and satisfactions, wrapped in the magic realism of fables and the frenetic, split-screen battles of manga.

In other words, it IS up my alley.

The turn for me was the introduction of Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), blue-haired object of Scott’s affection and the bearer of gravitas from another movie altogether. Ramona has a look that’s at once doe-eyed and hard, betraying an existential sadness at unleashing her League of Seven Evil Exes on Scott. Her lingering question: Will Scott her be her 8th?

That decision falls to S.P. (Michael Cera, pitch perfect EveryGeek.)  Though I’d be happier if he’d been given funnier lines early on – why would Ramona fall for this guy, unless niceness was her only criteria for picking a BF? – I can’t fault, and in fact applaud, Cera’s winning amalgam of Juno’s Paulie Bleeker and Superbad’s Evan. (Trivia: Superbad’s Evan had no last name.)

The concept of Everygeek is (like the movie’s studio) Universal. It is Scott Pilgrim versus the world, every day. In the movie, he faces with bravado those Evil Exes, metaphor for the minefield we all navigate in relationships, brought to life by director Edgar Wright in dizzying flights of CGI fantasy.

The Exes – among them, Chris Evans (Human Torch, Captain America)  and Jason Schwartzman (“Rushmore”) – are fantastic. But my favorite is Brandon Routh (“Superman Returns”) pulverizing Scott with his “Vegan-diet-generated powers.” As Routh risks losing those powers by violating that diet, this vegetarian was LOLing and submerged in the Pilgrim-verse at last.

I’m waaaay old. That we know. But I ended up loving Scott Pilgrim, and remember enough of love, jealousy, and courtship choreographies to relate. I’m always enough of a fanboy to enjoy the movie’s comic-inspired look. In fact, its very comic-ness makes me suddenly want to channel Stan Lee, who might have summed up the movie’s appeal like this:

“There’s a little bit of Scott in us all, Pilgrim!”

Top: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Pic courtesy Universal Studios. 

Walt Jaschek recommends the Scott Pilgrim Blu-Ray Collectors’ Edition.